Saturday, 29 September 2012

Poor Judgement

Been busy of late folks so have not updated for a while. Just had a badly needed R+R mission in Ibiza and it did seem strange to go there just to chill out and relax, having been there previously with the intention of non-stop partying 24/7. This time it has been about eating fine foods and drinking fine wines whilst spending the rest of the time doing absolutely nothing. 
I have had a very busy year so it was nice to actually sit and read a book for once – a fiction book. One that had not been about philosophy, psychology, or some other factual thing.

The book was actually “Day of the Triffids” by John Wyndham. I highly recommend reading it actually but what struck me was the fact that we are all under the illusion of permanence and it all it would take is the slightest event such as the loss of one sensory modality to cause the human race no end of problems and it kind of makes you realise how fragile life actually is and how morality is illusory.

However, this is not the point of the post and I will fly straight in to the meat and potatoes of judgements and elucidate our use of them a little. I think you may find some value in this if you are post-self but it may not be so useful to those who have not seen no-self. 

The reason being that post-self you can apply your honesty to this process and see it in the light of reality rather than trying to use the mind as a reference of truth as you would have done prior to liberation. 
It may be of some value to those who have not seen no-self but it certainly won't provide any concrete steps to dismantle the mechanism involved and one would be better spending the time looking at their beliefs in the self first.

For those who are post-self you can see if you are unconsciously engaged in this kind of mechanism and it will illuminate some hidden delusion to you if you have not already seen this aspect. 

This post is simply a paradigm example of the use of reality to smash a belief in the post self framework. 

Of course, there are many more beliefs to work on and this represents one of many, however, this is the kind of autolysis work that gets results in breaking down the mechanism of the false beliefs held after seeing no-self and is an example of the process one should endeavour to be engaged in, so I hope this example helps you to get a feel for what you should be doing.


Having been to Ibiza twice before, I was accustomed to staying in the resort of San Antonio, where some of the clubs are, the beautiful sunset strip, and of course, the notorious party central at the west end of town. 

There are two types of people who go to San Antonio and without stereotyping which we will be focussing on shortly we can split them in to the clubbing crowd who go there for the big clubs and the drinking mob who go for an 18-30's type affair. 

Of course, there is some overlap between the two and being a raver myself I ventured in to the west end at times. What a sight to behold though, and it is clear that us Brits have a bad reputation abroad which became self evident upon seeing the west end. 
It was rather like a perfect picture moment, feed a bunch of sunburnt Brits with cheap 5% + alcohol they can't handle and give them a free bottle of vodka for every four drinks they buy. Then watch the ensuing carnage.

As I panned around the street, there was someone being sick in an alley, someone else asleep on the floor, a group carrying their inebriated friend, another group chanting “England, Eng-er-land, Eng-er-land … Eng-er-land, Eng-er-land, Eng-er-laaaand”, another two blokes fighting, a girl dancing on the table with her tits out, a couple groping each other and someone buying E's off a dealer. Makes you proud to be British!  

We certainly party hard at every opportunity and whilst it is fun this does not really do our national reputation any favours. It was pretty obvious that the Spanish population held us with contempt for ruining their lovely Mediterranean town every year and I noticed that quite often the Spanish were very hostile towards a big group of English people and they expected us to cause trouble every time the twelve of us went somewhere.

I remember thinking the spirit of Ibiza was nowhere to be found and I also discovered on a subsequent trip that it was the same shit but different year and thus, I had unconsciously acquired the belief that the Spanish hated the English. Of course this tended to colour my thinking towards the Spanish and I often found that I did not like many of the Spaniards I had met until I did some Muay Thai training in Thailand. 

At the camp there were more Spanish than English and I actually discovered half of them to be pleasant chaps and I was invited to stay in Valencia and in rural Catalonia if ever I was passing through the place. These were exceptions to the rule though. My rule being the Spanish hated English people. 

It is funny how these little beliefs we acquire from experience colour our thinking and of course they are very subtle preconceptions we hold that are not overtly obvious to us, since beliefs form dispositions and are often the brains rule or mapping system for interpreting the world as we experience it in the present moment. 

Some beliefs may be useful but clearly not all of them are as I am sure any fair enquirer would agree. Having had this belief go unchallenged for all this time, having never had a reason to address it post-self, it remained hidden to me that it was rule of thumb that influenced my dealings with the Spanish.

Fast forward to the present year and I was in the northern end of the island away from all of the tourists in a much nicer part. On the first day I walked in to the tobacos shop and I felt a little edgy as the glum girl behind the counter fetched me a pack of cigarettes. 

In the supermarket I placed the basket on the counter while the girl was still serving a customer and she scowled at me and sighed. Of course my conclusion being that the Spanish really don't like the English. 

The next day I walked in to the bar and ordered a round of beers. Again the edginess came on and the guy started talking about the football to which I rather unfortunately was aloof about when he tried to be nice and strike up a conversation in my language. 

Shame, I thought, an exception to the rule I should have been more polite. Subsequently the next few Spaniards I met were actually very pleasant and this left me thinking perhaps it is only the Spanish in San Antonio that get pissed off with the Brits, since this part of the island was very relaxed and you would not think that all the madness of San Antonio happened in these parts. 

Having being an enquirer in to my belief system for a while post-self it was obvious that the feelings of edginess generated meant I held an erroneous belief that needed to be investigated. I realised the belief was baseless but as we know beliefs do not always respond to reason since we do not choose what to believe. 

Emotional Categories

So, I started to enquire in to the presuppositions that I held. Firstly, it became obvious that I believed they were judging me. Of course, it is absurd to stereotype people in this way since they have far better things to do than make meaningful judgements about you. 

Then, I looked in to the nature of these judgements that are made. By looking at how I made judgements about people I realised that what these judgements really amount to are us simply pigeon holing people in to categories.

For instance, one might walk down the street and see a hot chick and categorise them as potential mate. One might see a meat head waddling down the street and perhaps you may categorise them as a threat. 

Perhaps one may see someone nerdy and categorise them as not worth knowing, or a group of people having fun that are cool and are worth striking up a conversation with.  I used the term 'worth' since we are talking about social value on a socio-biological level and not about a 'value' judgement in real terms.  

We do not actually consciously categorise people in this way, however, if you LOOK at real life you may notice your gut instincts about people upon walking past them in the street or when actually meeting new people. It is not so much we categorise them conceptually but it seems that there is an emotional process behind it all and this would lend credence to AntonioDamasio's somatic marker theory.

Perhaps you may disagree here but if we consider a sickly looking tramp you will likely have the desire to avoid striking up a conversation with them when walking past them. This is not a conscious “I wish to avoid them” but you simply have the urge to give them a wide berth. 

This is simply our  mechanism at play. Furthermore, when meeting the big boss of the company you perhaps do not need the conscious desire “I have to impress him” but it seems we adopt a role that encompasses this desire to come across as hard working or a proactive employee. 
Within this range of extremes we can conclude that we tend to encounter this stereotyping mechanism that does not necessarily have to manifest itself in conscious thought and manifests itself emotionally as 'gut feelings'. 

So, if this works on some kind of appraisal below the level of consciousness we have identified an emotional mechanism that has both evolutionary survival purposes, where it is important that we make snap judgements at times, and allows us take on the relevant role where appropriate in terms of our evolutionary psychology for navigating a social hierarchy. 

However, you may start to see the problem with this mechanism. For instance, the hot chick may be an absolute dick who is a childish brat. Perhaps the meat head is a really well connected bloke who is actually really pleasant. Maybe the nerd would be a loyal friend and those cool people a bunch of assholes. 

It is clear that this stereotyping mechanism simply pigeon holes people in to categories and causes us to adopt a frame of reference that is triggered emotionally and when meeting people, can cause us to adopt certain social roles. You need only consider the difference between the way you act in front of your grandparents and your friends to see that we tend to adopt these roles.


When we consider this emotional mechanism and see that what we are really doing is applying a generic categorisation to people we can start to look at its coherence with reality. As we have set out here already it seems that since these judgements arise from a generic stereotyping mechanism, what is really happening is that we categorise people and they are also categorising us. 

However, these categorisations are stereotypes and we all know what value stereotypes have in real life. They are worthless essentially as a reflection of reality, yet they are plausibly essential to survival and do allow us to navigate the complex social strata we live in.

When you think strangers are judging you it is clear that they are not generating complex conscious judgements about you, they are merely engaged in an unconscious stereotyping mechanism that is honed from their experience and the relevant stereotypes associated with their particular emotional pattern.

Another persons judgement of you is, for all intensive purposes, worthless.

It is in no way a coherent reflection of reality or of your traits as a human being. It is simply a survival mechanism that occurs below the level of consciousness. You are engaged in this as is everybody else in varying degrees. We can see past certain stereotypes such as ones about race, and there are many others such as the French man with a beret, stripy T-shirt, and onions around his neck. 

We can see these are worthless yet many people seem to think that judgements about others and judgements about themselves have some kind of intrinsic worth. Clearly they do not have any worth but objectively we can point to a finely honed and strategically valuable evolutionary mechanism.

It may be objected here that peoples opinions or judgements do have value, in particular an opinion from a friend, colleague or family member has intrinsic worth. To this we can simply use the old axiom of 'only listen to the opinions of those who you respect'. Since we are dealing with people who we know well their opinions about the way you have been acting lately may have some value in highlighting where you are ignoring areas of your life, or where you are being inconsiderate. 

These subjective opinions offer us strategic value, however, perfect strangers know nothing about you and thus any judgements by them are uninformed and do not reflect anything real about the world. 

Going back to my erroneous “Spanish people hate English people” rule, then it is clear to see that in fact it was clearly baseless and was simply an unconscious presupposition that I held. 

Most of my experiences reinforced this belief since my mind framed everything this way and looked for evidence to support the belief. But... there is one more component to this mechanism that underlies the whole thing. One important aspect that has not been addressed so far and we can ask the question of where did the judgement come from? 

One Answer; The Mind

What was really happening here was not that Spanish people were judging me, I was in fact judging them. I had judged that they were judging me, and whenever you hold the belief that people are judging you it is clearly that you are making a judgement of them. 

The uninformed judgement of a perfect stranger is simply a pigeon holing mechanism. Where the apparent 'gravity' comes from is not from 'their judgement' but actually from your own mind. 

No one is judging you. You are simply judging them. I had judged that Spanish people were judging me and this judgement was merely my unchallenged delusion. Start to look at this emotional mechanism of judgement and you will see that the originator is simply the mind engaged in an automatic appraisal process. 
The stranger may well be judging you but not in the sense that you believed they always were. You are actually pigeon holing them and judging them as a competent and qualified judge of your character.

"I hate you English pigs!!!"

Having explored this erroneous belief, I noticed that I was doing this in other subtle ways and have been able to start to notice where I am making judgements of other people that I had not recognised previously. 
I have spent a while looking at delusion and have managed to uncover certain judgements in this guise that were made during childhood. However, this instance was a simple paradigm case of working on a particular subtle judgement and what is unique about this one is that it remained hidden for a long time without the need to challenge it, since it only cropped up when going to Spain and did not become apparent until then. 

This is merely a surface level veneer and only cuts a shallow way in to the delusion of the mind and there are many more erroneous judgements to uncover. This one was simply an unchallenged belief that shared some hallmarks of other beliefs I have looked at before. 
By looking in real life at our other beliefs in this way in the post-self framework we have a methodology outlined that we have all been pioneering here at truth strike. 

If you are newly liberated you can get to work using this autolysis technique and develop your ability to investigate the post-self framework. By LOOKing in real life you have a powerful tool at your disposal to look at the reality of your beliefs and the presuppositions they are based on that you simply did not have whilst subject to the mechanism of delusion of the self.

Also, you have the clarity to see these patterns playing out since you are now used to looking at real life rather than the representations thrown up by the mind. 

Whilst those who have not seen no-self may be able to recognise the pattern outlined here they do not have the tool set to start dismantling the mechanism here, they will simply gain an intellectual understanding of the pattern and will watch it play out mechanically for a lifetime unless it is meditated on, since what is needed is the use of reality as an arbiter of truth, rather than the mind. 

If you still think there is a self then get yourselves on to TS and start to challenge and dismantle your belief structure. You may well find that we have all made poor judgements in the past and are engaged in these patterns of deceit that result.

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